Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind

B is for Best-Selling Novel

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Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

When it came to look for a Best-Seller to put on the list I decided to start first with 1916, as that book would be celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Double double yay

But I didn’t see any I was a very big fan of so I went to 1926. Nothing there as well.

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I decided I would then check 1936 and if I couldn’t find a book I was a fan of I would try 1896, then 1886, then 1876, and then go back to 1946 and on and on until I finally found something.

However, I stopped at 1936 with Gone With the Wind.

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Gone With the Wind was published in 1936 and at time sold 176,000 copies. It was a best seller in 1936 and 1937, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1937, and by 1938 sold a million copies. In 1939 the film came out and the book sold two million copies.

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My first introduction to Gone With the Wind was when I first watched the film when a friend and I were going through AFI’s list of the best films. We made it to #15 before we became too busy and haven’t finished doing it since.

Oh well.

Oh well.

Anyways, I watched it and thought the movie was really good. The cinematography was absolutely stunning, it was full of good quotes, and Clark Gable was just amazing as Rhett Butler (funny thing is Margaret Mitchell didn’t want him as she thought he wasn’t handsome enough to be Rhett).

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I didn’t care for Scarlett as I thought she was a…

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And thought she was just horrible, not Vivian Leigh’s performance but her.

Then three years later, as it was on my reading list, I decided to read it, borrowing my mother’s copy. And when I read it I was amazed at how it was a truly fantastic book!

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And I believe that everyone should read it at least once.

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So the book is a huge epic! It follows the Irish O’Hara clan from the father’s immigration into the new world and settling in the South, the radical changes from the Antebellum period, to the Civil War, and the Reconstruction era.  At the heart of all this chaos is the story of the beautiful, ruthless Scarlett ‘O’ Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

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So let’s list off why one should read this book:

A) Shows How the Irish were Viewed in America

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So we start off with Gerald O’Hara, head of the clan. Back in Ireland he was a part of a Catholic Emancipation group, like the Ribbonmen or such and ends up having to flee because of his political activities. He comes to America and isn’t always treated very nicely, as the Irish weren’t. Often they were made fun off, not allowed in certain areas, and thought to be taking over jobs. He starts working in his brother’s store but what he really wants is land, the very land that was denied him back in Ireland as no Catholic Irish could ever own anything.

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He eventually wins a plantation in a poker game and spends a long time building it up and having it be one of the richest ones in the area. He then decides to marry, but while these Southern families enjoy his wealth and propsperity; none could ever think of marrying their daughter to an Irish immigrant who’s family is unknown. The only thing for him to do is try to find a woman somewhere else, as he returns to his brother for help in finding a bride.

Yes, most don’t realize this but the wealthy South wanted to be like the old manors of Europe. Be the master of the land with pure bloodlines of other wealthy families, not bringing any low class in, and very racist against any that weren’t established in their group. This kind of racism against the Irish and Catholics went much farther than the South and was seen all over the country. Many times Irishmen and women had the lowest class jobs, found it hard to get land and keep it, and found themselves competing against African Americans who would work for lower wages (in the North). While Gerald O’Hara does extremely well, a lot of Irish weren’t able to ever reach that, especially in the South at this time.

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B) Scarlet O’Hara

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Scarlett is a Southern women in the Antebellum period and has very little schooling. All that is expected of her is to marry well and have plenty of children. But Scarlet has always felt different and out of touch with the time she lives in.

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She is extremely intelligent and has great business acumen. In fact it is often remarked that if her brain had been born into a boy she would have been able to go far.

Scarlet doesn’t have life easy either. With the Civil War she finds herself becoming a nurse, a midwife, and eventually has to take on the plantation or risk starvation. Because of those experiences it makes her hard, as with the book we see how she is constantly worried if things will turn out alright, if they can make it, or if they will be back to starvation; everyone looking at her to take care of everything.

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That is an incredible burden to be laid on a teenager (as she is about 17 or 18), let alone one who’s education was “how to look her prettiest”. She becomes tough because if she doesn’t, none of them will survive.

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When the home is attacked, she defends it shooting the deserter and protecting the home and people.

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Now she does steal her sister’s boyfriend, so she has faults, but she does it because she has foresight none of the others do. He has a hardware store, but when Scarlet takes over she also creates a lumber mill, triples the money, and is able to provide for everyone. Even though she accomplishes all this everyone still tells her she isn’t being a lady, running businesses and doing better than her husband. They try to convince her to stop, but she keeps on doing it. Using her “ladies mind” which contains a powerful way with numbers.

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She continues to be this strong, forceful woman throughout the rest of the novel; even though she does make a lot of bad personal decisions. Still, for a woman in the 1800s to have her own business, earn her own money, choose who she will marry (several times), is pretty awesome! She is a powerhouse of a character.

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C) Not as Racist as People Think

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People had slaves and if a book mentions it, that is not racist. In fact in this book the slaves aren’t really shown to be stupid, slow, or other clichés; except Lettie who is mentally disabled (something we understand more now than we did then). There is the house slave who didn’t want to work in the fields, but being a house slave was seen as better than an outdoor slave and slaves on the inside often treated the field slaves as being lower class.

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In fact this book isn’t racist to African Americans, but points out racism and hypocrisy that African Americans faced from those who were trying to free them. It is often remarked that while the North wanted the Southern slaves to be free, that did not mean they actually wanted to work with those freed slaves or have them near. There were plenty of racist people living in the North fighting for African American rights, but if they were near an African American they would still treat them cruelly. Mitchell points this out when the new Republicans brought in by Reconstruction say they would never have an African American nanny their children as they have “diseases” and “uncouth ways”. In fact they would much rather ship over an Irish immigrant than ever let their child be touched by someone black.

What jerks

What jerks

Many say that Mitchell started this “Mamie” stereotype  creating a myth that all Africans were pleased with being slaves; which Mitchell does not do. Like The Help, which by the way everyone loved and praised, she shows that because the nannies lived in the house and raised the children they sometimes became like family. It didn’t happen with everyone, but in this case Mamie was a mother to Scarlet more than her own mother.

Also people are all different and have their own views, even if they live in the same area. Mitchell presents a look at the many ways people regarded slavery; indifferent as Scarlet, necessary as Mr. O’Hara; and how some treat African Americans rudely, cruelly, or like family.

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D) The Person You Love are Not Always True

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Scarlet is in love with Ashley Wilkes, but they could never marry as her blood (Irish) is too inferior for the Wilkes family. He is to marry none other than his cousin, but instead of flat out saying that to Scarlett, Ashley likes how this beautiful woman who everyone wants loves him and leads Scarlett on, trying to make sure her “flames of love kept burning” because it made him feel good. He was such a jerk and a coward! I mean we’ve all had guys like that who say “they would make the commitment”, but their life isn’t quite together yet. They haven’t reached their plans. And then when you try to move on, they always snag you back, bemoaning that if only things were different; trying to get you to wait for them.

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They get their poisonious hook into you and keep you.

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My friend was in the snare of a guy like Ashley for three years. He would go on about how they couldn’t be together, she deserved someone better; but as soon as she started to move on or see other people he would pop in about how much he cared about her. Constantly stringing her along in this cycle.

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Thankfully she finally realized it or she would have been like Scarlett constantly pining after something she thought she needed when the real prize laid before her. It is horrible, and this book really teaches you the errors of being stuck on someones hook.

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E) Stop Looking to the Past

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Like most people, Scarlett gets stuck in the past. All she can do is think of Ashley and wish of Ashley.

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How many of us have had a broken heart and instead of realizing how that person wasn’t right and deciding to move on, we cling to the past dreaming, wishing hoping. How many of us waste our time like Scarlett?

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Scarlett was so consumed with her dreams and thoughts of the past that she was blind to the person who really loved her, that if she had only let her dream of Ashley die and stop mooning about him she would have seen how much better Rhett was for her.

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F) Never Be afraid to Say How You Feel

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Everyone talks about Scarlett’s blindness and how she was unable to see what she has but you know who was a real coward? Rhett! Rhett never told her he loved her until the very end. Maybe if he had not been so afraid to admit his real feelings and told her the truth about how he felt instead of distancing himself for the fear of her breaking his heart or lording over him, then they might have had a chance at true happiness.

Yes it can be hard to be vulnerable, or share your heart with others. Things can go very wrong of the person doesn’t care. But they can go just as bad of you say nothing and let the person you love pass you on by.

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G) Hold On to Tomorrow

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As Little orphan Annie says, “So you got to hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may!” Even after all she’s been through, Scarlett has an optimism that seems to go against everything else about her. She has faith that in tomorrow things can change. Life is hard now but in the flip of a dime it could turn out better. This kind of optimism we should instill in our life as well. Anything could happen tomorrow, don’t give up as things can get better.

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To start the 30 day challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

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For more on Gone With the Wind, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more on Margaret Mitchell, go to I Will Survive

For more Ayn Rand quotes, go to The Power is Yours

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Today’s carol is O Little Town of Bethlehem. Phillip Brooks visited Bethlehem in 1865 and three years later wrote the poem, asking his organist Lewis Redner to write the music.

“As Christmas of 1868 approached, Mr. Brooks told me that he had written a simple little carol for the Christmas Sunday-school service, and he asked me to write the tune to it. The simple music was written in great haste and under great pressure. We were to practice it on the following Sunday. Mr. Brooks came to me on Friday, and said, ‘Redner, have you ground out that music yet to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”? I replied, ‘No,’ but that he should have it by Sunday. On the Saturday night previous my brain was all confused about the tune. I thought more about my Sunday-school lesson than I did about the music. But I was roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel-strain whispering in my ear, and seizing a piece of music paper I jotted down the treble of the tune as we now have it, and on Sunday morning before going to church I filled in the harmony. Neither Mr. Brooks nor I ever thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond that Christmas of 1868.”

Amazing. Now it is famous and such a part of the festive year. My favorite version is the Nat King Cole one.

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For more Christmas carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Those Aren’t Men They Are the Living Dead: White Zombie (1932)

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We could have been killed. Worse than that we could have been caught. 

By those men?  Those aren’t men they are the living dead!

So zombie films have been extremely popular the last few years, they have encountered many changes; but they all owe it to this movie. Yes this is the first full length feature film about Zombies. Instead of biting or disease; this man makes Zombies through Voodoo, poison, drugs, and his eyes!

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I first became aware of this film when I watched 50 Greatest Horror Classics Collection. I know that I have been reviewing films I didn’t like these past few days, so here we go with one I do.

Now one things that this film doesn’t really do, is explain exactly how he does the zombie-fying and mind control. This was explained in the sequel, Revolt of the Zombies (1936)

This film has a very interesting background. The film was thought lost until found in the 1960s, there it went a serious court battle as multiple people fought for ownership.

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It only took eleven days to film but it was such a hit when it premiered. It did so well, that Lugosi regretted taking a salary instead of a percentage.

Vat have I done?

Vat have I done?

Well I think that is enough talking about it, shall we move on to the review?

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So the film starts off with a young couple, Neil Parker and his fiancé Madeline Short. They have just arrived in the West Indies. Neil has a job out there and went for Madeline. They planned to marry as soon as they touched the port, but they meet Charles Beaumont who presented them with a better job offer, and they are headed to his house and to be married tonight.

If only they knew what was coming.

If only they knew what was coming.

As they are driving in the buggy, they come upon a funeral in the middle of the road.

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It sounds strange, but they do that so people don’t dig them up and use them with voodoo, or turn them into zombies, the living dead.

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Then “Murder” Legendre, Bela Lugosi, come upon them with his group of Zombies. He steals Madeline’s scarf, and stares at her with his creepy eyes.

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The driver, fearful, takes off at the speed of light.

“Neil Parker: We could have been killed.

Driver: Worse than that we could have been caught!

Madeline Short: By those men?

Driver: Those aren’t men they are the living dead. Zombies!

The driver warns them they should leave, but the couple are suspicious of zombies actually existing. Yet at the at the same time:

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They are startled when they come upon the minister, having arrived at the Beaumont mansion for their wedding. They ask about zombies, and the minister, Dr. Bruner,  says he has been a missionary there for over thirty years and he has seen a lot of strange things occur.

Hmm...

Hmm…

 

They tell Dr. Bruner about what happened, meeting Beaumont on the boat, the job, etc. The Dr. thinks this is very odd.

Something strange is going on

Something strange is going on

This Beaumont they describe is nothing like the selfish, pushy, take over man that he knows. Everything about their situation smells bad, and he warns the couple to leave as soon as possible.

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That makes TWO warnings! They need to leave!

And run fast

And run fast

When the couple arrives, Mr. Beaumont doesn’t want to see them.

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But then he changes his mind.

Okay this behavior means that there is something else going on here with Beaumont.

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The butler agrees it is for the best to approach them as the minister is questioning why Beaumont is being so kind. He greets them but then has to leave while everyone prepares for the upcoming wedding.

Madeline is getting ready when she looks out the window and sees Beaumont get into a buggy with a man. When we zoom there, the man is emotionless, glazed over, dead eyes, a zombie!

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Mr. Beaumont reaches a work area and sees 20 or 30 of these same walking dead. All empty eyed, slaves, and ZOMBIES!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Legendre greets Mr. Beaumont and puts out his hand, but is ignored as Beaumont sees him as “beneath” him. Legendre then explains about his little operation: about how the dead don’t care about long hours, breaks, food, money, etc. He tries to sell the idea to Beaumont, but business is not on his mind. Instead his mind is on Madeleine.

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He desperate to have her and is trying to get Legendre to stop the wedding. He thinks that if he took her away for a while she would change her mind. But Legendre does not think that will work, women will not forget so soon.

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Beaumont pleads with him to do something, anything!

Martin: Aren't you ashamed now? Aren't you? Spiders now, is it? Flies ain't good enough! Renfield: Flies? Flies? Poor puny things! Who wants to eat flies? Martin: You do, you loony! Renfield: Not when I can get nice fat spiders! Martin: All right, have it your own way

I must have her!

Legendre says that he has one way to do it..all Beaumont has to do is give her a tiny bit of this potion in her drink or on a flower and it will enable him to have what he desires.

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Beaumont doesn’t want to do it that way but Legendre tells him that is impossible, there is no other choice.

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That might Madeline is getting ready for her wedding, the church is all decorated. Mr. Beaumont walks her down the aisle pleading with her to marry him instead of her fiancé. Madeline kindly refuses.

See ya!

See ya!

He promises to stop, after one last thing, giving her a rose. Madeline accepts, but little does she know that rose has been tainted with poison and will bring only death!

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Madeline takes the hand of her love and the ceremony to twine them begins, but out in the courtyard Legendre lurks getting ready his magic.

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He takes the scarf he stole from her earlier, and wraps it around a wax candle. He looks like the devil with his beard and eyebrows.

Creepy!

Creepy!

He carves the wax candle, quickly creating the figure of a woman. And then he stares with his eyes…

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They all toast and are happy.

Neil Parker [Jokingly to Madeline] “Gypsy read my fortune.”

She looks into his cup and says “i see happiness, love, I see…” But then she sees Lugosi, with fiery demon eyes in her cup…

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AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She then says “I see death”

Immediately she falls down, and we see Lugosi’s eyes, knowing he is controlling her body and spirit.

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A funeral is held and Madeline is to be buried.

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Neil goes to a bar to drink, upset, heartbroken and seeing her everywhere. All are happy while he is the one in utter misfortune.

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Her apparition appears to him, but he can’t reach her.

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That night Beaumont and Legendre are in the graveyard and they see zombies! Legendre isn’t surprised as they are his slaves. Many have fought against his spells, but Legendre overpowered them all and controls them.

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The zombies remove Madeline’s casket from the tomb. Just then they hear her husband, drunk, trying to approach the tomb screaming out her name. The zombies quickly take her away to conduct the ceremony elsewhere.

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Neil finds the grave empty and is distraught.

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Dr. Bruner explains that there are two ways this could happen.

  1. Her bones were taken away to be used in a ceremony by some natives on the island.
  2. Or she is not dead.

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Neil is in shock! Not dead? But he saw her! The doctor said!

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The minster agrees but he has seen so many strange things on the island, it could be possible!

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Neil thinks the idea of her being murdered so someone can steal her body is ridiculous. But then Dr. Bruner tries to explain that she isn’t really dead, but instead a type of parlor trick with drugs to make her appear dead.

WOW

WOW

But Neil doesn’t listen.

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Come on, LISTEN TO THIS MAN! If you had in the beginning you never would have gotten in this mess.

Seriously

Seriously

So Dr. Bruner explains about a type of drug that produces a deathlike sleep, only to have them “awaken later” and be a zombie, one of the “living dead. I knew about this as I had seen it before in The Four Feathers, and read about how historically some witch doctors would do this. Because of that, I figured out a majority of Sherlock Holmes (2009).

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They figure out that Beaumont must be the one behind this. Neil wants to take him to the authorities, but the minister reminds him they have no proof. Besides she died. No one would believe Beaumont pretended to kill her.

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Beaumont has what he wanted and has desired or does he? He has the beautiful body of Madeline but something is missing from her. Her spirit.

She is an empty tomb, a shell of who she was, and it is driving Beaumont crazy!!!

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He gives her the finest things money can buy, all that she could desire, but nothing changes in her eyes or look. Beaumont realizes his mistake and that he made a bad decision. He thought that just having her would be enough, but in reality he has nothing.

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Beaumont begs Legendre to bring Madeline back. Legendre warns that Madeline won’t be happy as he just tried to control her. In fact she will most likely be furious. But Beaumont doesn’t care, he needs her. Legendre promises to bring her back and then the two have a toast. Don’t drink, it is a trap!!!!

After the drink, Lugosi reveals that he has done the same to Beaumont which he did to Madeline. He does not want to bring her back, as he has other plans for her,ones that Beaumont might not agree to.

OMG gasp

Beaumont tries to get his butler to help him, but it is too late, he is under Legendre’s control as well.

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The zombies come and carry the butler away, tossing him off the cliff, and all that is left is Beaumont and Legendre.

Dr. Bruner takes Neil to see the witch doctor.

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Weird, right? He’s a minister. Doesn’t that go against what he represents?

Anyways, there they pick up a guide to take them up the mountain and to where Beaumont is housing Madeline. But Neil won’t listen.

That guy

That guy

Neil is trying to climb up the mountain but isn’t doing too well, he’s sick from a tropical disease or hangover.

Anyways, as they continue, you hear the vulture, the pet of Legendre; looming overhead, always watching. It reminds me of Maleficent’s bird in Sleeping Beauty.

Not gulls but you understand the feeling.

Neil and Dr, Bruner argue over whether he should climb the mountain, Dr. Bruner thinking he is too sick too. Then they see Madeline looking over the balcony.

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Neli calls out to Madeline hoping to reach her, but she still remains in her zombie state.

Beaumont has completely had a breakdown. No longer the powerful one, he too appears in a trance, the guilt of everything weighing down on him.

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Legendre gave him a special type of poison, he is awake but in a trance and can’t talk, can’t move, a slave and awake inside knowing what he is going through and feeling it.

The shots and angles of this are beautiful. From framing Lugosi in the cross architecture, the stairs, etc. There is some beautiful, early, cinematography at play here.

So Lugosi sees Neil creeping up the stairs, but he is not really looking like a threat, as he is practically unconscious. Lugosi takes his hands and tries to work his spells on him, with his eyes, the third eye.

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Madeliene wakes up from her bed and in a trance begins ro walk down thestairs. Searching, searching for what?

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Madeline being framed in a cross architecture while wearing cross on her dress is almost a virginal sacrifice. Beaumont sees Madeline and wants to help but has no control over his body. She takes a knife from the table.

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Legendre wants her to stab her husband Neil. She approaches him and is about to stab him when she stops. Something has come over her and she is unsure, but then Legendre’s eyes they call, her to do it,

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She is just about to stab Neil when she is stopped by a person grabbing her arm and removing the knife.

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A person dressed in black, who is it?

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Legendre continues to try and control her but it does not work. She runs and Neil chases after her.

She runs to the hillside and looks over the water about to jump but stopped by Neil. He is happy to have her but Madeline remains motionless. Legendre comes followed by his zombie army.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neil has a gun and shoots at the zombies but it doesn’t stop them or produce blood, as they are already dead.

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The minster was the man in black! He smacks Lugosi in the head stopping him. All his zombies throw themselves over the cliff, as control is momentarily lost and they wish to remain dead! Madeline wakes up, the control has ended.

Double double yay

And all is good.

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But no Legendre awakens, he is not one to be easily thwarted and begins to exact his control.

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Neil and the minster chase after  him, but are stopped when he throws some magic dust, burning their eyes.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Beaumont creeps dow the steps, and we only see his shadow. He knocks Legendre over the cliff, his vulture/spirit guide thing going too.

Madeline is awaken and reunited with her love.

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And the bride and groom get to go off and have their honeymoon.

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A great film. You should definitely check it out.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to What I Think You Will Think…You are Fully Under My Control: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966)

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For more zombie brides, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

For more Bela Lugosi, go to I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

For more zombie films, go to Say Something Human: Warm Bodies (2013)

For more on The 50 Greatest Horror Classics, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

There is no sin in killing a beast, only in killing a man. But where does one begin and the other end?

So this year I decided to do something very, very different. Now the in the past, all Horrorfests have ended on a film that takes place on Halloween. This wasn’t a credence that I set out to make, it just kind of happened along the way. With Horrorfest I had always planned on ending on Halloween (1978)I knew it was the best way to end the first year with a big bang. Besides, that year I had done the other slasher films that spanned numerous sequels and remakes (Friday the 13th Nightmare on Elm Street). Horrorfest II I was trying to also end on a really great film that would produce the same kind of bang, and decided on Children of the Corn as that film was creepy. It also happened to take place on Halloween.

This year I was trying to decide what would be the best opener and closer. I was originally going to open with Metropolis as I had done a post in July referencing it. But after I wrote that post, it just didn’t speak to me as an opener. I started going through my drafts and that’s when I spotted The Wolf Man (1941)The Wolf Man has to be my favorite of the classic horror film monsters (along with The Phantom of the Opera). I hadn’t had a chance to review it yet, and since it was the last of the classics I decided it should be the opener.

the wolf man

Once I wrote that post, I was so excited. You see, I felt I really couldn’t to a post on any werewolf films until I had covered the first one. I thought it was only right to start with the original. With that done, I could move onto any other werewolf film I desired. The possibilities were endless.

excited

With the beginning finished, I then set my sights on the end. What could I do that would really pop? As I started thinking and looking, I saw my draft for The Wolfman (2010). And that’s when it hit me.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

I could end Horrorfest III with The Wolfman (2010). It could be like bookends!!!! In the beginning the original that started it all  and the end the newest rendition. !!! Yes!! It could work and it will. So here we are The Wolfman (2010).

Double double yay

So a little backstory before we begin the review. As you would have read in an older post, I love The Wolf Man (1941). It is one of my all-time favorite horror films. One day in my photography class, we were watching trailers of different films as we were looking at the cinematography and technique. My teacher was on a Mac which has Front Row, and shows you trailers of the past, present, and future films. One trailer I remember looking at was Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). I wasn’t planning on seeing it, as I hadn’t seen the original. But as we reached the end, I saw The Wolfman.

220px-Wolfman-final-small

I screamed ay my teacher, stop!! I want to see that. So we watched the trailer.

AWESOME!!! RIGHT!!! So I knew there were going to be changes, I knew it was going to be nowhere near as good as the original, but I was soooo pumped!! So I watched the trailer in February 2009, and saw the film was slated for that October. I couldn’t wait!!!

excited

I ticked off the months, but then in October I discovered it wasn’t out in theaters.

Mr-DarcyexcuseMe

Yep, there had been some production problems, so they pushed it back to February. FEBRUARY!!! V-Day weekend. I was upset, but what could I do? I just had to wait it out.

Laura Angry Mad Upset

But then February came and I decided that it would be my V-day present to myself. You see I have never had a boyfriend or date for V-day, so I always just buy myself whatever I want. It’s actually pretty nice as you don’t have to fight with anyone over where to go or what to see; and you are never, ever, ever, disappointed.

perfect plan

I asked a couple of friends who were also single and we bought tickets for opening night. I knew that I wouldn’t be 100% pleased, but I was looking forward to those improved transformation scenes.

So moving on to the review.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So let’s go back in time. The year is 1891 and we are in England. Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) is the second son of Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). He and his dad had a lot of issues and problems so he left as soon as he could. Since then he has been a renowned Shakespearean actor, famous throughout all England for his Hamlet and Macbeth.

the wolfman play acting stage

He recieves a letter from a Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt). She was engaged to his older brother Ben, but he has been murdered. Not only was he murdered, but horribly mangled by something. When Lawrence gets the news, he immediately returns home for the funeral.

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When he gets there he sees his father and the two have a harsh welcome. Unlike The Wolf Man (1941), where father and son were trying to work on repairing their relationship, Sir John doesn’t care. He still has huge issues with his son not being what he wants him to be. The way that Sir John treats him, causes Lawrence to want to leave, and go far away…but he can’t. He has to properly say good-bye to his brother.

the wolfman funeral 2010

Lawerence does try to get away from his father as he knows staying near him will just cause more fights. He also really wants to see his brother. So he heads down to the local slaughterhouse where the body is kept before burial.

ew! Gross Yuck

I know but you have to remember this is a small village in 19th century England. They didn’t have a mortuary to hold the body until burial. They also didn’t understand how diseases spread and that it is not a good idea to have a dead body near your food.

There at the slaughterhouse, the butcher gives Laurence his brother’s items, that is everything found on him at the time of his death.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Later that night he heads over to the local pub for a drink and overhears the gossip on the murder. Most of the villagers blame a band of gypsies. Not long after they moved into the area, Ben was murdered. In fact, someone remembers a case occuring years earlier of gypsies moving into the area and dead bodies surfacing. As they discuss this, Laurence remembers that Ben had had a gypsy medallion on him.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

This is the first time that Laurence has ever met his brother’s fiance Gwen. Now for you Wolf Man fans, you should recognize that it is the same name given to Laurence’s love interest in the original film. Except in that film she was to marry the hunter/groundsman of the Talbot estates. Anyways, Laurence meets her and can instantly see why his brother fell for her, as he himself is attracted to her.

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Of course Lawrence is the most amazing, gentleman/good guy that he would never ever think of putting the moves on her. He does thank her for trying to be there for his father and for everything. He also let’s her know that if she ever needs him, he’ll be there for him.

Gwen is also attracted to him, and you really can’t blame her. If Benecio is in his early 40s, that means her husband to-be was hecka old. Also Benecio/Lawrence has this adorable hurt puppy dog look that makes you just want to show him he is special, and that you care for him. He looks so sad that it makes you just want to take him, and take care of him. Making sure is life is bright and never unhappy again. That look is killer on any girl as it flies through their best defenses. Major chink in the armor.

swoon dreamy

Sorry, digressing….So with Lawrence back, and the funeral over, Gwen decides to return to London. Laurence would like to leave too, but wth his brother’s death, he now is sole heir to the estate and the first son. When his father dies he will become Sir Lawrence and be expected to uphold all those duties (House of Lords most likely). This isn’t the life that Laurence wants, but at this moment he is too loaded with grief and confusion over his brother’s death that he doesn’t question or try to rebel.

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So with Gwen gone, and his father an emotionless robot who only cares about himself; Lawrence takes it upon himself to try and figure out what happened to his loving brother. Now Lawrence is putting on the black cowl and trying to become a vigilante or anything, he just wants some closure about his brother’s death. He heads down to the gypsy camp to try to get some answers.

Being questioned police Annex - Tierney, Gene (Laura)_03

Where were you the night in question?

That night is a full moon

attack Wolf Boy Meets World

Which as you’ve guessed it means trouble is going to be roaming about. Lawrence meets up with the gypsy woman Maleva, who tells him that something truly evil has attacked his brother.

Wolf Man 1941 5

But before he can get anything more, the townspeople attack the village. They try to drive the gypsies from the area, and kill a dancing bear they believe to be the beast that killed Ben Talbot.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

As they are attacking, a superhuman, wolfish creature descends upon the area and starts slaughtering people.

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And I’m not talking about just a few people, this is like a Scream sequel. The body count by the end of this film is in the double digits.

wolfman dead bodies lots cart

Hey, my generation is the Millennials. They aren’t as classy, they need lots more blood and guts.

Anyways, the werewolf is attacking everyone, and Lawrence spots a young boy running into the woods. At the same time the werewolf spots the boy, causing Lawrence to put himself in the way in order to protect the child. As he does so, the wolf attacks him.

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And he gets bitten.

dun-dun-duuuun

Malvea find him and cares for him, despite the community telling her that it is better for all if they let him die. But Malvea can’t, she says he still is a man and deserves to be treated as such. She also states that only a loved one can kill him.

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Malvea honey, I don’t think so. Anyone can kill a werewolf as long as they have some kind of silver object. Nowhere is that in the original film, as if you read my post you would know that film revolutionized werewolf mythology. Click here to check it out now.

And besides that, is there nothing you can do for him? You are a cinematic gypsy in a horror film! You’re supposed to have a potion or herb or special thing that can protect you from turning. Now if you have read my DraculaThe Mummy, The Wolf Man, or Scream 2 posts, you know I make fun of the films when the guy is given a special charm to protect him but then stupidly turns it over to the girl he loves, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL NOT WORK FOR HER.

Every time!

Every time!

But I really enjoy that part of the film, as it humanizes the character and makes you adore them. I mean its sweet how much they love the girl in their life that if there is anything that can do to ward of the monster, they prefer them to have it. Even though by doing so they make things worse, hey it’s the thought that counts.

Frozen Sacrifice self love you sisters

I also hate how gypsies have been giving “B” standing in modern horror films. I mean without their supreme wisdom and knowledge in the supernatural, they are just nomadic people. In real life they are still awesome, in a  horror film? That’s just boring.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

But I guess that’s just they way it is these days.

Sadface Batman

So where was I? Oh yeah, Lawrence has been bitten by the werewolf. He is moved back to Talbot Manor, and Gwen returns from London to nurse him back to health. While recovering he has really strange dreams. Lots of blood, murder, and even his mother appears. You see his mother died when he was very, very young and her death severely traumatized her as he discovered her dead body. But why would that death be haunting him now? Is it because of Ben? The slaughtered people seen in the gypsy camp? Or is it something else?

suspicious  Hmm

Lawrence actually heals pretty quickly, which he finds kind of odd. And that’s not the only thing that’s odd in the Talbot homestead. One day his father’s manservant, Singh (Art Malik), shows him a case of silver bullets and hints that something monstrous is walking through the woods.

Weird

Weird

He’s not the only one concerned. Inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving) comes to town. Yes, yes I’m going to admit it. Any film with Hugo Weaving gets an 10x increase in awesome. I mean this guy is truly one of the most talented actors alive. When he ecomes a role you totally forget that he is Hugo Weaving and just think of him as that character. For me I’m always going, Hugo Weaving was in that film? Oh that’s who was that amazing character. I totally forgot that character was being played by an actor. I mean he is that  good. You have Agent Smith in The Matrix, Elrond in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, V in V for Vendetta, the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, and that’s just to name a few.

wolfman 2010 inspector abberline hmm i've almost got it hugo weaving

Anyways, Inspector Abberline comes to town to investigate. He already believes he knows who the killer is…Lawrence.

Yeah I don't understand it either

Seriously? Lawrence? A Murderer? Come on, this guy wouldn’t hurt a fly. I mean look at him, really look at him. There isn’t a murderous bone in his body! Besides, he just arrived in town so there is no way he could have murdered his brother. Dude, you’re dumb.

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But it isn’t completely ungrounded. You see, Lawrence has a history of “mental problems.” You see, I didn’t want to give you the full story so early, but Lawrence’s mother’s death really did a number on him. Now today, we would really try to help the child as we understand such events as those are highly traumatic and can cause serious issues. Then not so much. Lawrence discovered the body and was very upset. He was afraid and kept mentioning a monster had hurt her. Instead of trying to help his kid, Sir John sent him to an insane asylum, where he was tortured. And I mean torture. Many methods to improve these patients were electrotherapy, iron cuffs/collars, bloodletting, dipping the patient in hot or ice-cold water, and a gyrating chair “to shake up the blood and tissues of the body to restore equilibrium”. By the 1900s, many hospitals had added lobotomies to their lists of “cures”.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah not fun. So Aberline thinks he is the perfect suspect. Laurence though, is having none of that.

Lawrence Talbot: I get your implication, and resent it. You’re clearly aware of my personal history, as I believe I’m aware of yours. Weren’t you in charge of the ripper case a couple of years back?

Det. Aberline: You’re a direct man. So I’ll be equally direct with you. I am not your enemy, Mr. Talbot. You’ve been seen as Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard III, all with that same face. A prudent man would ask who else might be living inside that head of yours?

Laurence doesn’t quite know what is going on and asks Gwen to leave as he’s worried something might happen to her. That night he follows his father, and watches him go down to the family crypt, to the area where his dead mother resides. There he finds a chair with restranints. His father locks the door and stays in the crypt, leaving a confused Laurence.

Weird

Weird

As Laurence turns to go inside, he becomes…The Wolfman!

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Now this was worth the price of admission. These transformation scenes are awesome!!!

Freakin’ sweet!

So now that he is a wolfman, he does what they all do. Ravage the countryside.

Film Title: The Wolfman Claw

The next day the Inspector comes for him and has him arrested to be sent back to the “mental hospital”

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

How horrible is that. I mean this has to be Laurence’s biggest fear, to be sent back to that horrible place. Poor guy. And I was doing some research last night, not only were insane asylums awful, but the one he has to go to, Bedlam, was one of the worst.

you're evil

Dr. Hoennegar, the leading physician, takes Laurence under his wing and subjects him to ice treatments, that is to be consistently dunked into ice water and left there for long periods of time.

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Can you imagine?

And oh joy, he also gets electroshock therapy.

Stupid, stupid

While he is incarcerated, Sir John comes to visit and tells him a story. You see Sir John is the cause of all this.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Back in the day when he was younger and hunting in India, he heard this rumor about an unusual predator. He travels to the remote cave that the predator calls his home and while there was bit by a feral boy and became a victim of lycanthropy.

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Except, it was more than “imagining” he actually became a werewolf and began attacking things.

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That’s when Laurence realizes everything about his mother’s death makes total sense. He did see a beast kill her, but it was his father! His father killed his mother and then sent him to a mental institution!!! What a truly, truly evil man to allow his son to be tortured. And now for a second time!!!

you're evil

Now this was my biggest issue with the film. Every other part of the movie was actually pretty great. It was an amazing homage to the orginal film. Benecio del Toro was actually a huge fan of the original and tried to bring a lot of Lon Chaney Jr. into his acting. But the thing I absolutely hate was the changed relationship with his father.

HateEverythingthewomen

It just didn’t work in my opinion. I mean that is what truly made the original fantastic, was that everything in his life was going great, he was a great man; and this tragedy strikes that ruins everything. He and his father were finally, finally becoming close and working out all their issues. He had met a nice girl, even though she was engaged, and had hope for that relationship. He loved England and was getting back into the groove of it. But then this horrible thing happens and he has to say good-bye to it all. He knows he is going to die, but what does he do? He goes to his dad and makes sure that he has something to protect him. Because even though he has spent years hating and being angry at his father, he truly loves him. It’s just so wonderful and sad all at the same time

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

But having the dad the evil guy, I don’t know…it just makes the film feel as if it is missing a huge part of it. It doesn’t hit in the heart like the orginal.

But moving on, so his father murdered his mother and then sent the only witness to a torture chamber (mental hospital) to ensure that those memoris would never come to light as they are only crazy “child fantasies”.

you're evil

Since then, Sir John has had his manservant Singh has been locking him up so he doesn’t wreck havoc anymore. However, Ben was planning to leave with Gwen once they were married and this enraged Sir John. He wasn’t locked up that night and killed him to keep him from going away. He became so incensed with the power that he ran wild later, killing all in the gypsies camp and biting Laurence purposely.

Omg what a–

wordICan't say Toy Story

He did it on purpose because he wanted a fall guy. He wants to roam free as a werewolf and he allows his son to be caught and tortured. Argh!!! Urhg! this man! I;m so angry I can’t spell right. He needs a good sock in the face.

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After he finishes his story he leaves, intent on never returning.

Jerk

He deserves another punch.

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That night Laurence is taken to the observation room, where the good doctor presents him as a curio to his collegues. Unbeknowest to him, moonlight is coming through the window and landing on Laurence. This causes him to turn into….the Wolfman!

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This is one of the coolest scenes, but unfortunately I could only find it in Italian. Sorry! But you don’t really need to understand what they are saying to enjoy the effects/makeup.

Dr. Hoenneger: Ah, Mr. Talbot. We are here tonight to illustrate conclusively that Mr. Talbot’s fears are quite irrational. So, we will remain in this room together, and once Mr. Talbot has witnessed that the full moon holds no sway over him, that he remains a perfectly ordinary human being, he will have taken his first small step down the long road to mental recovery. We are all aware that Mr. Talbot has suffered quite traumatic personal experiences. He witnessed his mother’s self mutilations. His young mind, unable to accept it, created a fantastical truth, that his father is to blame. That is father is literally a monster. But, your father is not a werewolf. You were not bitten by a werewolf. You will not become a werewolf, any more than I will sprout wings and fly out of that window.

Freakin’ AWESOME

Totally fangirl over that.

Laurence runs away, being chased by the Inspector, and also wreaking havoc. There are some truly amazing shots of him by the bridge, on statues. Just plain awesome!

wolfman statue on tiop of werewolf

The next day he visits Gwen in her antique shop. They realize they have fallen in love, but Laurence knows nothing can come of it. He has to kill his father and himself in order to protect others.

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Inspector Abberline comes to see if Lawrence is there, but he is too late. Lawrence has already left for Talbot estate.

Gwen refuses to believe that they can’t be together. She starts studying lycanthropy and tracks down Maleva the gypsy for more advice. Maleva cannot help her, as there is no cure for werewolf.

Noo!

Noo!

Meanwhile, the Inspector has also headed back to the village and this time armed with silver bullets. That show in the Observation room must have finally convinced him that werewolves are real. Gwen also heads toward Talbot Hall.

Lawrence is the first to arrive and discovers a murdered Singh. He takes his gun loaded with the silver bullets and starts hunting his father.

Sir John Talbot: You have me at a disadvantage. It makes me happy.

Lawrence Talbot: What does?

Sir John Talbot: Well, seeing you here like this. My son returned. It is glorious, isn’t it?

Lawrence Talbot: No, it’s hell.

Sir John is a freak. He needs help. Serious help.

Anyways, it turns out there are no bullets in Singh’s gun, but blanks. Sir John did that on purpose as he will not be destroyed. Sir John attacks his son and the two begin fighting. The full moon comes up and transfroms them into werewolves. And yes, yes we have a werewolf fight. I personally thought it was a little cheesy (and dumb) but this is the millenal generation. And it is something the people want.

So after Laurence burns and decapiitates his father, Gwen walks into the house.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GWEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The wolfman, Lawrence, attacks her. Luckily, the inspector had also just arrived on the scene. He tries to use his gun, but misses allowing him to be bit by the werewolf. Gwen steals the gun and takes off, being pursued by the wolfman.

wolfman 2010 hiding from wolfman

He chases her to a waterfall. With nowhere left to go, Gwen starts begging and pleading with the wolfman, hoping to get to Lawrence. Lawrence reason faintly returns to the beast, who hesitates. He then hears the sound of a posse coming to attack him.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

While he is concentrated on them, Gwen shoots him through the heart.

Noo!

Noo!

Laurence changes back to his human form, and before he dies thanks Gwen for saving him.

Lawrence Talbot: [his eyes open after being shot by a silver bullet and transforming back into a human] Gwen?

Gwen Conliffe: [crying] I’m sorry…

Lawrence Talbot: It had to be this way.

Gwen Conliffe: I’m sorry.

Lawrence Talbot: [he holds her hand] Thank you. [Dies]

aw cry

The posse and an injured inspector arrive just as Laurence dies.

So that is The Wolfman. Now do I think it is as good as the original? HECK NO! But that does not mean it isn’t an awesome film. Besides that one thing that majorly irks me, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a pretty awesome film. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting incredible, and those transformation scenes? Freakin’ awesome! And I did like how they moved the story to show how harshly “mental disabled” people were treated. And you know what? Most of the people who were in those didn’tr even have serious problems. They would throw in the homeless, those with learning disabilities, women of large fortune who had husands that wanted the money but not the girl, etc. It was horrible. Horrible.

But back to the film, I think it is a worthwile view. It may not be exactly how I imagined it, but you do have some great werewolves in this, and no Jacob ones. Real werewolves.

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And so ends another Horrorfest. I am so pleased with this years as I was able to redeem myself from last year’s only half the month’s posts. 31 days of terror and woe once again. I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to The Perfect Murder

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For more on werewolves, go to Werewolves Roam Among Us

For more monster movies, go to There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist

For more on 19th century England, go to The Past of a Man

For more on insane asylum, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more remakes, go to Don’t F*** With the Original

I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone: The Lovely Bones (2009)

The Lovely Bones

“My name is Salmon, like the fish. First name: Susie. I was 14 years old, when I was murdered, on December 6, 1973. I was here for a moment. And then I was gone.”

So when this film came out in 2009, I really wanted to see but couldn’t find anyone to come with. Nobody seemed interested, and those that were had already seen it. I decided that I would wait to watch it until after I had read the book it was based on.

So that happened much later than I thought it would. At first everyone wanted to read it so it was hard to get a copy, and then I got busy reading other things.

diewithbooks

Anyways, so last month I went to a library book sale and discovered The Lovely Bones on sale for 50¢. Never being one to turn down a deal I bought it and immediately read it. It was different than I thought it would be as we learn the identity of the murder immediately. It was still a suspenseful book and interesting as we see how Susie Salmon’s disappearance affects her and the rest of her family. The other really interesting thing about this book is it really shows the changes that have come along since the ’70s regarding how police work and the forensics that we have. Not to mention criminal profiling.

So, back to the film. While the book is more of a suspense/horror/drama; but the film is mostly a drama with veins of suspense. The film was pretty good although they had to make a lot of changes. Mostly it had to do with cutting as the book is really long and spans about 10 years. The film only covers about a year-18 months. But the film was pretty good otherwise, and I recommend it.

So as mentioned earlier, Susie Salmon is a fourteen year old girl who gets murdered. At first she is presumed missing, and the police begin to investigate. The film details how her disappearance and lack of closure affect her family-father, mother, sister, brother, and grandma; along with friends and the community.

So this is what made the film great.

excited

Ready?

1. The Artistry/Cinematography

The Lovely Bones Candle Surprised

The film is mostly in wide angle shots and they are set up beautifully. As the film is told in flashbacks or from the viewpoint of the spirit of Susie; it works really well. Not only are the regular shots extremely beautiful; but the scenes of heaven/limbo are extremely amazing and artistic. You really get the feeling that you are in a a place created by a child’s mind (as it is supposed to be what Susie wants).

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2. Susie

lovely bones Susie Don't look back

Susie is played by Saoirse Ronan and does a really great job at being a fourteen year old kid. She really makes you believe it as she is shy when a boy likes her, sassy and trying to “rebel” against parents, showing she is moving toward becoming more adult, while at the same time still being very much a kid. You really feel for her as she wants to move on to heaven and a better life, but doesn’t want to leave her family or the boy she cared for.

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3. Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon

lovely bones Mark Wahlberg smile

Mark Wahlberg plays Jack Salmon the father who we adore and wouldn’t mind having. Jack is a caring father that has a really close bond to his children, often being the one they go to as their mother (Rachel Weisz) resents the life she lives. He has an incredibly close bond with Susie, not only because she is the oldest, but they have a lot in common. In fact, she is the only one who enjoys the model ship building he does. When he loses her, he falls apart trying to discover who the murderer is. He also works overtime trying to be there for his other kids. He never gives up, as he can’t just have his daughter disappear. Even when his wife leaves, he continues trying to care for his family and preserve his daughter’s memory. He faces the issue and problems straight on, while his wife runs away. When his wife comes back, he welcomes her back with open arms as he never stopped loving her. He is an amazing father, and you really feel for him and everything he goes through. What makes this performance even more amazing was that Wahlberg only joined the crew a day before filming actually started, knowing next to nothing about the story.

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4. Stanley Tucci as Mr. Harvey

creep watching lovely bones Stanley tucci

Stanley Tucci deserved his oscar nomination and should have won for his performance.I mean anyone who could go from this

to this:

definitely deserves an Oscar.

Every time we see him chills run up and down my spine, he is soooooooooo creepy.

Certified Creepo Ribbon

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You should definitely check this film out.

2009Lovelybones

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to Keep Clear of the Moor. Beware the Moon

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For more film based on a book, go to What Is This Thing?

For more on Mark Wahlberg, go to At the End of the Rainbow

For more of my fav quotes, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?

For more bookish posts, go to Opening With…

You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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“You think you know something, don’t you? You think you’re the clever little girl who knows something. There’s so much you don’t know, so much. What do you know, really? You’re just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there’s nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares.”

So for my first Alfred Hitchcock film, I am going to review Shadow of a Doubt. This really surprised me as I never thought this would have been the first, (I was sure it would be Psycho). But I had such an urge to talk about it, that I had to follow it. Now this has never been considered one of Hitchcock’s greats, in fact it bombed at the office, but it was both Alfred Hitchcock’s and Teresa Wright’s favorite film.

I actually have a personal connection to this film myself. I used to go to college near Santa Rosa and one day for film class we were going to watch a psychological film. The one we chose wouldn’t work and I suggested that we had to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, specifically Shadow of a Doubt. I had this urge and was pushing the film so hard, even though it is not one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It was only when we watched it, that I remembered that it was set and filmed in Santa Rosa. In fact, I have been to all the areas the film was set in.

So the film is supposed to be about a happy town, full of normal American people, but underneath this lies something horrible. This kind of thing was what David Lynch ended up doing and becoming famous for in his film Blue Velvet and TV series Twin Peaks.

TwinPeaks dark henious evil

So the film starts off with the extremely handsome Joseph Cotten, lying on a bed. His name is Charlie Oakley.

Cotten, Joseph (Shadow of a Doubt)_01 phone call

His landlady knocks on the door and tells him that there are two men looking for him. Charlie quickly packs some things up, gathers his money, and takes off. He makes plans to get out of the East coast, going heading to California to visit his sister Emma in Santa Rosa.

In Santa Rosa, we meet Charlie 2 (Teresa Wright), named after her Uncle Charlie. (From now on I’m going to say Charlie for Teresa Wright and Uncle Charlie for Joseph Cotten as otherwise it will be too confusing.) Anyways, Charlie has been complaining that life is boring. Nothing interesting ever happens in life.

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She finds out that her Uncle Charlie is coming and is ecstatic. The two of them have always shared a special bond. Out of everyone in their family, she feels that Charlie is the only one who really gets her.

he gets me

Uncle Charlie greets the family and not only bring life into the house but gifts. Charlie gets the most special gift of all, an emerald ring. Charlie notices an engraving of initials on the inside and asks Uncle Charlie what they stand for. He doesn’t know and blames the jeweler for selling him an old ring instead of a new one.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

He keeps trying to push Charlie to let him get it re-engraved, but she refuses. At dinner, Emma is humming this song. It has been stuck in her head all day and she can’t remember what it is called. She asks around to everyone else, and her husband Joseph says that it is The Merry Widow Waltz. When Uncle Charlie hears this, he is startled and spills his wine.

shadowofadoubt unhappy

After dinner, Joseph’s friend comes over. Now this is an interesting subplot. The two of them are huge mystery fans and are constantly trying to create the perfect murder. This subplot always makes me laugh and it reminds me of a friend and I. We are always talking about the best way to kill someone and get away with it. I always go with the Secret Window way.

“Joseph Newton: We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him.”

In fact, they remind me of Randy from Scream except with actual murders, than horror films.

Randy

They determine one of the best ways to kill someone is to disguise the murder as a suicide.

The next day, Uncle Charlie is reading the paper, when he sees a story that upsets him. He rips the page with the story on it, and turns it into a house for the kids, hiding the ripped story in his pocket. Ann and Roger think it’s are cool, but they have to dismantle it as their father hasn’t had a chance to look at the paper.

Charlie saw him hiding the torn pages and starts teasing her Uncle. She grabs them out of his pocket and tries to put them together. But before she can, Uncle Charlie gets angry and pushes her away. She becomes frightened, but Uncle Charlie consoles her,  telling her that it was a bad story about a friend.

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Soon after, two men approach the family and let them know they have been chosen to be the feature family for a census agency on “typical American family-ness”. They will be coming to interview them and photograph their average lives.

BMW Average

Emma is really excited as Uncle Charlie will now be a part of the featured story. She tells Charlie about how she only has one photo of him. It was when he was a little boy, before he got in a horrible accident. After he recovered from the accident he never was the same again. Often getting into trouble.

Uncle Charlie says he will be staying in town for a while, and then begins acting strangely. At the bank he deposits forty thousand dollars in cash and makes all these jokes about the bank and Joseph (Charlie’s dad) embezzling funds. He also extremely avoids the census takers. He thinks they are up to something. Whenever they come to the house, he always leaves and won’t answer any questions.

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When his picture gets taken, he becomes extremely angry and demands for the negative roll.

The younger of the two census workers, (Macdonald Carey), asks Charlie to be his guide of the town, and she agrees only to please her mother. When he gets her alone he tells her that he isn’t a census taker, but that instead he is Detective Jack Graham and that he is with the FBI. They are investigating “The Merry Widow Murderer”, a man who romances widows and murders them taking their money. He tells her that that they have two suspects. One of which is her Uncle Charlie.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

The next day Charlie is still reeling from the news and sleeps all day. She doesn’t want to believe her Uncle Charlie is capable of murder. However, she can’t help thinking about his suspicious behavior.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

Charlie gets even more freaked out when Uncle Charlie gives a rant on widows.

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“Uncle Charlie: The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who’ve spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women… Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?”

Charlie suffers a breakdown as she can’t handle the thought that her Uncle is a murderer. That coupled with her father and Herb’s constant murder talk, ugh she just needs to get away. Uncle Charlie follows her and takes her to a bar to talk.

At the bar, he confronts her suspicions and tells her that he is considered for The Merry Widow Murderer”, but it isn’t him. It is just a coincidence.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Charlie listens, but something doesn’t sit right with her. She still feels suspicious. She sneaks into Uncle Charlie’s room to try and figure out what article he had ripped up.

shadow-of-a-doubt-room door break into

She can’t put the pieces back together, and instead heads to the library. She convinces the librarian to let her search the papers and discovers that “The Merry Widow Murderer” killed a famous entertainer. She notices that the initials of the woman match the ring Uncle Charlie gave her.

OMG

She goes to her uncle to confront him, and he asks her not to say anything. She agrees to wait as she knows it will hurt her mother.

Meanwhile, Jack is pushing Charlie to give him info on her Uncle, but she won’t say a thing. They sent the photo of Uncle Charlie back East but haven’t heard whether or not he is the guy the are actually after. The other suspect they were considering was killed fleeing from the police and many believe he is the murderer.

After this news, Jack goes to Charlie and tells her that he likes her. And that he would like to date her, maybe even marry her one day.

Say What

I know. He has been nice, but he never even seemed to show that he was that interested in her. He totally pulls a Mr. Darcy, completely dropping that bomb out of the blue.

mr darcy

Uncle Charlie is all smiles and it seems like everything is fine, but Charlie can’t shake an uneasy feeling.

This doesn't feel right.

This doesn’t feel right.

Soon Charlie suffers from an accident. As she is coming down the stairs one of the steps falls through causing her to fall. She checks later but can’t tell of any tampering.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Now these are some of the best scenes in the film. In the beginning you aren’t sure if Uncle Charlie is doing anything, whether they are accidents or not. I mean could he really be so cold-blooded as to kill his own niece?

Gilmore girls creep

Uncle Charlie is asked to give a public lecture and the whole family is going to go hear him speak. There isn’t enough room for them to go in one car, so they decide to send most in a taxi, with the Charlies going in the car. Charlie gets trapped in her garage with the car going. She calls for help, but the music Uncle Charlie is playing overpowers her screams.

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Luckily, Herb is coming by as he does everyday and hears her, freeing her.

The next day, Uncle Charlie decides that he is leaving. Everyone but Charlie is sad to see him go. As he gets on the train we see that he won’t be traveling alone, but a rich widow from the town. Every one comes on board to check out the train, with Uncle Charlie gets Charlie to stay longer to talk. The train starts going while she is on it. She tries to run off, but Uncle Charlie tries to push her off the train onto the track of an oncoming one.

shadow of a doubt attack

The two struggle and Charlie manages to overpower him, knocking him off the train.

There is a funeral for Uncle Charlie and Jack comes back. Charlie tells him the truth and why she kept it hidden from him. Together they resolve to keep Uncle Charlie’s crimes a secret.

You have to see this film. The story is great, the acting amazing, and the cinematography is just beautiful.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more classic cinema, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more serial killers, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more psychological thrillers, go to A Deliciously Creepy Tale

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

For more on Twin Peaks, go to Food, Food, Food!

Being Friends is Good Enough: Catching Fire (2013)

Romantic Moment #4

Catching Fire

Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

So I really loved this movie, I thought it was much better than the first one. The cinematography was better as it wasn’t so shaky and all over the place. I also thought they did a better job with Peeta. I loved him! Everyone I know is like Gale this and Gale that; now I know he’s hot, but Peeta is way better. Peeta is so adorable and sweet and loves Katniss soooo much. I’m totally on the Peeta train, I want my own! Peeta.

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Anyways, I’m digressing. So Catching Fire takes place a year after Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games with their pretend love. Now they both have houses, money, food, etc; for them and their family. And the best thing of all, they never have to compete in the Hunger Games again. Katniss and Gale are having issues as Katniss is trying to deal with the trauma of the Games and her confusion for what she feels for Gale and Peeta, along with trying to care for her family. She and Peeta (who wants their relationship to be real); are doing tours at each district proclaiming how happy they are to have survived, honoring the those that died, saying how grateful they are to the capital, etc; that whole spiel. President Snow is unhappy with this, as they have sparking rebellions all over. He would like nothing better than to get rid of Katniss, but can’t outright kill her as it will cause a full on revolution. He decides that for the big anniversary of the Hunger Games they will pick from those who have won in the past, killing her in the process. Katniss and Peeta aren’t the only ones scared and angry to have to go back, as none of the others thought they would ever have to repeat the process. They have to make alliances and try to trust each other, but which of the teams?

Most Romantic Moment:

So the most romantic moment for me is when Peeta approaches Katniss about their whole fake relationship. They are on the train traveling and he tells her he can’t do this anymore. He can’t have them pretend to be together only to never talk or interact.

Peeta

He needs more. He needs them to be friends.

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Yep, you heard that right. Just be friends. Just friends. That’s all he asks. And this is coming from a guy who has had a crush on her forever! Who purposely burned bread and would get beat by his mom so he could “throw it away” so Katniss would have something to eat and feed her family. He only wanted her to be safe and would have done whatever he could to have her survive instead. When she started playing up the romance angle for the sponsers, he thought it was real. He thought she loved him.

HOwMuchILikeU

And after all that, after the pain, the mistrust, having his dreams and heart throw through a shredder all he asks is for them to be friends. Yes, friends. He’s there for her through everything, When she has nightmares, and needs to be held through the night.

hunger games Peeta

He’d die for her any day. He is just so amazing there are no words to describe how wonderful he is.

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He just loves her sooo much that he puts all her needs before him. No pressure, no pushing, no anything; just trying to help her pull through.

He's so romantic

He’s so romantic

A Tale So Strange It Must Be True: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)

The Cabinet of Dr. CaligariI must know everything. I must penetrate the heart of his secret! I must become Caligari!

So I checked out this movie from the library, thinking that it would be weird, but I was not prepared for how strangly horrtastic it was. This was an extremely well done horror film, that really does the orginal film justice.

So this is a remake of the 1920s silent film. It was revolutionary for its time, and inspired countless others. What David Lee Fisher wanted to do in his remake; is still have the orginal story, but redo it in a way that it would connect to the modern generation.

It was truly amazing. I recommend that all watch it; for multiple reasons.

  1. This is one of the very, very few remakes that is as amazing as the original. They hardly changed anything, and took nothing away from the story.
  2. The background is amazing. Using a green screen they took the backgrounds from the original film, truly giving the film a demented and creepy space. It was seamlessly done, with the only times the fore and background being disconjointed is when you are at a point of the film that cannot tell what is really happening and what is in the mind. These out of sync scenes really help support the questioning of the characters’ insanity. 
  3. The cinematography is beauttiful. Almost every scene takes your breath away at how beautifully it is set up.
  4. The actors are amazing! (Judson Pierce Jones & Neil Hopkins are very attractive! :D)
  5. The end is magnificent. They just twist everything that you are not sure what is reality and what isn’t.

So the film starts off at the end. The main character, Francis is speaking to an old man about his fiancé, and how she has been through such a strange event that she will never be the same again. She walks every night in a trance, and does not speak anymore. Francis starts to recount his story, warning the man that he probably won’t believe a tale so strange, it must be true.

We go back in time to a city and place that we don’t know where it belongs. Is it past or present? All one can tell is that the buildings slant, everything is triangular, misshapen, and strange.

Strangely beautiful

A man comes to the main hall to get a permit for his carnival. He calls himself Dr. Caligari, and speaks of having a psychic who can reveal all’s future. The clerk is rude to Dr. Caligari and forces him to pay an exuberant amount of money. Caligari does and walks away, but all does not seem to bode well for this clerk.

The next day he is dead. Murdered.

Then we are introduced to Alan, who is stopping by to visit his friend Francis and is begging him to partake in some kind of adventure. We learn that Alan has been combating depression and has been holing himself away these past months, even having to visit an asylum. He however, is feeling much better and convinces Francis to see the fair with him, “for old times sake”.

They start getting drunk, and then stop to see the psychic Cesare. Cesare is a “living dead” man who can fortell all. He lives in a coffin, only being released every once in a while, Cesare has a truly creepy wake up scene. There is just something about how Doug Jones jerks and twists his body that frightens you.

Francis wants to leave, but Alan is rooted to the floor. When Dr. Caligari calls on him to ask a question, Alan is compelled to answer. He is physically incapable of leaving or turning away. He asks Cesare his question, but all does not go well.

Alan: How long shall I live?                                                                                                                                      Cesare: The time is short. You die at dawn!”

Francis quickly grabs Alan out of the tent and fearing a relapse in his friend, reassures him that Cesare’s tricks are stupid and do not mean a thing.

On the way they meet up with Jane Stern, a girl they are both madly in love with. (It is a reoccuring theme in movies. Out of all the women in the world the best friends always fall for the same one). Both are eager to get an answer from her as to who her choice will be, but she manages to slip away and into the night. The friends say good-bye and go their seperate ways.

The next day Alan is dead. Murdered.

This horrible tragedy leads Francis on a path of reality so intermingled with insanity that one can hardly tell the fact from fiction. Francis is so sure that Dr Caligari killed his friend, that he becomes obsesed with finding proof. Will this quest for vengence and justice end well? That I cannot tell you as you must see it for yourself. The film is so good, that like The Bad Seed, I cannot tell you the ending. You must view it yourself.

This marks the seventh post of scary tales. More to follow.

Here’s a poster/cover page I made for my facebook page as a countdown to Halloween.

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

To go to the previous post, go to Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught

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For more on psychics, go to That Video…is Not of This World

For more posts on films that have been remade, go to Anything Can Happen